The Bipolar Bum

Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.

About the illness

Wikipedia says:

Bipolar II disorder (BP-II; pronounced “type two bipolar disorder”) is a bipolar spectrum disorder (see also Bipolar disorder) characterized by at least one episode of hypomania and at least one episode ofmajor depression.Diagnosis for bipolar II disorder requires that the individual must never have experienced a full manic episode (one manic episode meets the criteria forbipolar I disorder).Symptoms of mania and hypomania are similar, though mania is more severe and may precipitate psychosis.The hypomanic episodes associated with bipolar II disorder must last for at least four days. Commonly, depressive episodes are more frequent and more intense than hypomanic episodes. Additionally, when compared to bipolar I disorder, type II presents more frequent depressive episodes and shorter intervals of well-being. The course of bipolar II disorder is more chronic and consists of more frequent cycling than the course of bipolar I disorder.Finally, bipolar II is associated with a greater risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than bipolar I or unipolar depression. Although bipolar II is commonly perceived to be a milder form of Type I, this is not the case. Types I and II present equally severe burdens.

Bipolar II is difficult to diagnose. Patients usually seek help when they are in a depressed state. Because the symptoms of hypomania are often mistaken for high functioning behavior or simply attributed to personality, patients are typically not aware of their hypomanic symptoms. As a result, they are unable to provide their doctor with all the information needed for an accurate assessment; these individuals are often misdiagnosed with unipolar depression.Of all individuals initially diagnosed with major depressive disorder, between 40% and 50% will later be diagnosed with either BP-I or BP-II.Substance abuse disorders (which have high comorbidity with BP-II) and periods of mixed depression may also make it more difficult to accurately identify BP-II.Despite the difficulties, it is important that BP-II individuals are correctly assessed so that they can receive the proper treatment.Antidepressant use, in the absence of mood stabilizers, is correlated with worsening BP-II symptoms.

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17 comments on “About the illness

  1. annarosemeeds
    30/05/2014

    Thank you for sharing this information! Hopefully it will help many people.

    Like

  2. Marie Abanga
    01/06/2014

    Please l have a question maybe not related here but here l go: What do l do if my brother with whom l just had a (what l thought) pleasant conversation, emails me to mind my business and stop calling him? He did that once, l stopped, and one day he emailed asking if l had abandoned him too? Thanks for your reply

    Like

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      01/06/2014

      Hi Marie,

      That is a really, really tricky situation and I’m not sure that I could give advice that would definitely get you a positive outcome.

      If I were in your position I would just try the path of 100% honesty.

      I would let him know firstly that you care and that he cares about you – and that is why you’re talking to him about these things. You’re not being nosy and you don’t get anything else out of it.

      I would then say that you’ll give him space if he needs it but that you would like him to talk to you, because again – you care and because isolating yourself rarely helps. Tell him that you’ll e-mail him and that he doesn’t HAVE TO reply to you but you would really appreciate it.

      The hard thing is, depression makes you want to isolate yourself and it is probably the worst thing you can do a lot of the time.

      You have to guess basically which course of action would make him more likely to isolate himself :

      If you message him and it makes him angry enough to cut you off

      or

      If you give him his space and he cuts himself off further.

      I’m sorry that I can’t be of more help here but, not knowing your brother or your relationship very well, I’m having to just guess. Because you’ve mentioned that he is prone to reacting violently before, I wouldn’t recommend forcing the issue with him. You have to look after yourself first before tending to others.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marie Abanga
        01/06/2014

        Thank you so much H&J,

        Oh, now we are continents away so l am not scared of the violence. l even gather that he’s toned down a lot. He is a man now you know soon 33 and l think he fares sort off by his own in his apartment doing whatever.

        l will send him an email. We are close and you see when we talk, he sounds very happy and doesn’t try to cut off like he used to years back. He however sends me the text or note after that l am trying to control him. Yet he tells me he misses my sons so much and that he’s grateful for my care.

        I prefer honesty because he is yet to face his illness and hence no diagnosis since 15 good years. Just some here and there.

        Anyway, l will slow down some (not that l push too much anyway). l was asking for your advice because l know you’ve been there and could give me something you know!

        Thanks once more, it means so much to me. All the best, Marie

        Like

        • drheckleandmrjibe
          01/06/2014

          Well if you’re not worried about the violence – What my friend did for me was tell me the hard truths. He told me that my thinking was wrong, and the evidence of an illness, that the bad thoughts weren’t really mine at all but that they were created by my illness.

          When I tried to explain it away and feed my denial, he told me that was what I was doing. Sometimes the softly, softly approach doesn’t work.

          After 15 years of Bipolar, if that is what your brother has, he will have seriously damaging thought patterns that are by now second nature. Just IDENTIFYING those thought patterns, let alone confronting them as problems is difficult.

          If he isn’t interested in any kind of therapy (and a lot of therapists don’t do much anyway) then it might fall to you to tell him the hard truths.

          Get him to do the online self-tests and see how he comes out, that way you’ve got at least some idea of what you’re dealing or not dealing with.

          All the best,
          H&J

          Like

          • Marie Abanga
            01/06/2014

            Hi H&J,

            l just finished doing him an email now along the lines of what you describe here. Could I email it to you some how? l have a post scheduled for next friday his birthday and he gave me the permission to do it. You will understand more thereafter.

            l don’t think l can get him to do the self test now, l may let him alone for a while. As for therapy, he hasn’t any. lt was stopped long ago probably due to his uncooperative self.

            Well, l have to take care of myself first as you said right? l have been through so much in my own life too and probably, my own mental illness was never diagnosed. l am just a survivor though far away from my 3 boys.

            kind regards, Marie

            Like

            • drheckleandmrjibe
              01/06/2014

              Hi Marie,

              I’ve just added an “Email the Author” page on the blog so you should be able to send the message to me privately if you wish.

              All the best,
              H&J

              Like

  3. Michele
    06/06/2014

    Great info. Thanks for putting that together!

    Like

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      07/06/2014

      Thanks very much for taking the time to come look and for the comment 🙂

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  4. nimslake
    13/06/2014

    Thank you for following my blog (https://nimslake.wordpress.com). And thanks for sharing such personal and important info on BP-II. Marvelous replies that you thoughtfully posted on. Wish you the best going forward.:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      13/06/2014

      Thanks very much for taking the time to come and comment here and for the kind words. I really appreciate it.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  5. transcendbipolar
    23/06/2014

    Synchronicity! I posted the Black Dog Institute’s Bipolar test on my blog last night. You are the first blog on the subject of Bipolar that I have really loved and read throughout, and I found the same test here. It’s a good sign.

    Like

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      23/06/2014

      I think it’s the best test I’ve seen so far. It was the one I did that started the ball rolling.

      Thanks very much for taking the time to comment and for the kind words! I really, really appreciate it and I hope I can maintain a standard that keeps you entertained. 🙂

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  6. Gator Woman
    26/06/2014

    If it is of interest, many Native people are bipolar.

    Like

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      27/06/2014

      Native Americans?

      It’s interesting to me that ALL nationalities and ethnic groups have Bipolarity to contend with. THe main difference seems to be whether it is accepted or diagnosed or if it is called “Demonic Possession” or a punishment from god. I have one or two African followers and their descriptions of how these kinds of diseases are seen in Africa is eye-opening and eye-watering.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Liked by 1 person

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